February 8, 2016

More Than 700 Chefs Tell Congress to Label GMOs

The Center for Food Safety reports that more than 700 chefs are telling members of Congress to mandate labeling of GMO foods. A petition was delivered on December 2, 2014 to advance legislation called the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR). The petition states, "as chefs, we know that choosing the right ingredients is an absolutely critical part of cooking. But when it comes to whether our ingredients contain genetically modified organisms, we're in the dark. It's time for Congress to move us forward, not backward, when it comes to our right to know what's in our food." The chefs who signed the petition include Art Smith, Tom Colicchio, Danielle Vogel, Andrea Reusing, and José … [Read more...]

Oregon GE Labeling Initiative Heads to a Recount

Measure 92, the genetically engineered (GE) food labeling initiative on the ballot this month is headed for a recount because it is too close to call. The gap between Yes and No is less than one tenth of a percentage point. Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety said in a statement, "thanks to the tireless efforts of on the ground organizer, and despite an aggressive and expensive opposition campaign, GE food labeling is still alive in Oregon. Regardless of what happens next, this is only the beginning. The power and tenaciousness of the Food Movement has been on full display here in Oregon." Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences, Pepsi, and Coke together donated almost $15,000,000 to defeat the initiative. The previous record for spending on a ballot … [Read more...]

Documents Show Aquabounty’s Management Problems

Food & Water Watch and Center for Food Safety have again asked the FDA to deny AquaBounty Technologies' application for genetically engineered salmon. New evidence from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows that the company previously handed over responsibility for most safety at its Panamanian facility - including regulatory compliance - to an independent contractor. >In 2013, the company handed over management of its facility in Panama to an independent grower who died this summer, leaving the facility in a "precarious state" according to FOod & Water WAtch. Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said in a statement, "at times, even AquaBounty doesn't seem to know what's happening in Panama. The horrendous environmental record of AquaBounty, which includes a security … [Read more...]

Coalition Files Papers in Honolulu Court to Defend GE Initiative

A coalition of Maui and Moloka'i residents, farmers, and advocacy groups, represented by Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, filed papers Friday in Honolulu federal district court to defend the County of Maui's GMO crop safety initiative. That initiative won in the November elections, despite massive spending by huge corporations opposed to it. A legal challenge was almost immediately filed by those multinational chemical companies. Hawaii is being used an an outdoor lab for companies like Monsanto to test GE and GMO crops and the pesticides used on them. The ballot initiative prohibits the "growth, testing, or cultivation of GE crops in Maui County until an environmental and public health study can show that the planning operations are safe for the community." Nine days after the … [Read more...]

McDonalds Rejects Simplot GMO Potatoes

McDonald's, which is one of the largest fast food chains on the planet, has said they will not use the J.R. Simplot Company's Innate GMO potato, according to Food & Water Watch. Pressure from food safety advocates and the public have forced this move. The Simplot potato has been genetically altered to silence the expression of genes in the plant that produces sugar and asparagine, which together produce acrylamide, a potential carcinogen when the potato is cooked at high heat. Some food safety advocates are concerned that this manipulation will turn off other genes in the plant, since many genes have the identical stretches of DNA. One of the genes that may be turned off naturally protects the potato against pests. Wenonah Hauter, director of Food & Water Watch said in a … [Read more...]

GMO Labeling on the Ballot in OR and CO

Ballot measures requiring all foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOS) bear labels that say so will be decided by voters in Oregon and Colorado tomorrow. Proponents of these measures say consumers have the right to know which foods contain GMOs so they can make informed purchasing decisions. Critics say state laws regarding GMOs create problems for food manufacturers. In Vermont, which passed the first such law in May, the issue has landed in court. The Grocery Manufacturing Association (GMA),  the Snack Foods Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers filed suit in June to challenge the law set to go into effect July 1, 2016. “Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law – Act 120 – is a costly and misguided measure that … [Read more...]

Consumers Union: Cost of GE Food Labeling $2.30 Per Year

Consumers Union, the public policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports has estimated the cost of labeling GE foods and has released a report based on a literature review. They state that the median cost incurred by producers and retailers will be $2.30 per person per year; less than a penny a day. Labeling foods that contain genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO) ingredients has been a contentious issue for years. Consumers and consumer groups want these food labeled so people can make an informed choice; polls show that more than 90% of consumers want these foods to be labeled. Industry generally opposes labeling, stating it would increase costs dramatically. Consumers Union asked ECONorthwest to resolve this disagreement. The studies reviewed include assessments … [Read more...]

Experimental GMO Wheat Found in Montana Field

The USDA announced last week that experimental genetically modified (GMO), or engineered (GE), wheat was found at a Montana research facility that hasn't grown the crop since 2003. Center for Food Safety says this finding demonstrates that "coexistence" between GE crops and non-GE crops is a failed policy. At the same time they announced this finding, the government also announced they closed the investigation into GE wheat that was found growing in Oregon last year. They have opened a new investigation into separate detection of GE wheat in Montana. The new investigation is apparently a "regulatory compliance issue." The GE wheat found in Montana in July 2014 is "significantly different" from the GE wheat that was found growing at an Oregon farm last year. There are no GE wheat … [Read more...]

USDA Approves New 2,4-D Resistant GE Corn and Soy

The USDA has approved new GE corn and soy, which environmental and food safety advocates say will mean the release of millions of pounds of more pesticides into the environment. Center for Food Safety has condemned this decision to fully deregulate Dow Chemical's Enlist corn and soybeans. Those crops are engineered to withstand "repeated spraying of the herbicide 2,4-D." The EPA has yet to approve this new herbicide. Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety said in a statement, "2,4-D resistant crops pose a monumental threat to our nation's agricultural, environmental, and human health. With this approval comes millions of more pounds of toxic herbicides dumped onto our land. Center for Food Safety will pursue all available legal options to stop the … [Read more...]

Judge Strikes Down Hawaii Law Limiting GMO Crops

U.S. District Court Judge Barry M. Kurren has struck down the Kaua'i county law against genetically modified (GM) crops, saying it is preempted by Hawaiian state law. The order forbids county officials from implementing and enforcing Ordinance 960, which required more disclosure from huge biotech companies about pesticide use and GMO farming. The Ordinance also required buffer zones for pesticide spraying around schools, medical facilities, waterways, shorelines, and roadways and mandated County Environmental and Public Health Impact Studies. The plaintiffs in this case include Syngenta Seeds Inc. DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Dow Chemical's Agrigenetics Inc., and BASF Plant Science LPs. The defendants include Kaua'i County, Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network … [Read more...]

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